We are thrilled to announce that two of SPR’s leaders were selected for Crain’s 2020 Notable Women in STEM. Litha Ramirez, Executive Director of Experience Strategy & Design, and Nancy Kastl, Executive Director of Testing Services, have used their skills to advance our organization, serve as role models to other women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and are leaders in professional organizations outside of SPR. Thank you, Litha and Nancy, for inspiring your SPR colleagues and the industry at large.
Litha Ramirez – UX Leader & Avid Cyclist
I’ve spent my career at the intersection of technology and people, and I am dedicated to improving both of those things. My background is in conceptual art and technology, but I also have experience across a variety of verticals and types of organizations. Throughout my career, I have spent time as a UX leader, Product Manager, Project Manager, and Business Analyst—I even spent some of my early years as a front-end developer.
Outside of work, I have cycled over 5,000 miles, and volunteered as a STEM/Design Industry Representative at YearUp Corporate Partner Days and Hour of Code Day at local schools.
Describe how you work to advance women in STEM professions though mentoring or promoting inclusive practices in the workplace.
Being Latina and female, I have experienced the difficulties unique to minorities in the technology sector. Consequently, I am committed to the promotion of diversity in the workplace through inclusion of individuals from a variety of backgrounds and maintain an active network of individuals across many communities through civic volunteering and meet-ups. I also sponsor internship and apprentice programs to ensure opportunities are extended to diverse individuals. Finally, I maintain an ethnically and gender-balanced team through fair and equitable hiring practices, an intentionally diverse talent pipeline, and mentorship.
Nancy Kastl – Testing Leader & Founder of Chicago’s CQAA
I am an IT professional with over 30 years of experience as a director, consultant, facilitator, and instructor. As a strategist, I believe that a vision for the future, along with a clear roadmap, is essential for success. As an evangelist for software quality, I believe in learning from our past to continuously improve software delivery methods. I am committed to helping others in the QA/testing community grow and develop the skills needed to have fulfilling careers now and in the future.
Prior to joining SPR, I founded a small Chicago-based IT consulting firm specializing in software quality and IT process re-engineering that employed up to 15 IT consultants. I also founded and currently serve as president of the nonprofit Chicago Quality Assurance Association (CQAA), which provides educational and networking opportunities to software testing professionals.
How have you used your STEM skills to advance in your professional field of expertise?
With a BS in Mathematics and Psychology, an MBA specializing in Information Systems, and 35 years in Information Technology, I combined my STEM and business skills to setup and grow the SPR software testing line of business from $2.5M to $6M. To advance the software testing profession, I provide thought leadership through articles in trade journals, facilitating QAI’s Managers’ Solutions Workshop with 40 company leaders, and organize monthly educational programs for Chicagoland software testing professionals through CQAA. I am passionate about advancing the software testing profession and supporting the individuals who have chosen it for their careers.
Read the article and see the full list of recipients on Crain’s Chicago Business.